I admire various regular commenters here for different qualities: eloquence, perspective, courage, perseverance, integrity, loyalty, humor. Steve-O-in NJ is a one of the commenters I admire for his honesty, and willingness to subject his own conduct, past and present, to uncompromising analysis and objective criticism. This is one of the most difficult, and most useful, skills in improving our life competency of being positive participants in society’s ethical evolution. It also requires no small amount of humility and courage.
Here is Steve-O’s Comment of the Day on today’s post, Unethical Quote Of The Month: “Late Show” Host Stephen Colbert:
This isn’t a monologue. This isn’t analysis. This isn’t humor. It’s a rant, plain and simple, a bunch of angry thoughts and insults strung together and delivered harshly. I’m a seasoned ranter, to the point where judges, colleagues, and my family have told me I would do better if I dropped out the 20% of what I write that’s trash talking. I usually use it as spice, but let’s not kid ourselves, it’s pandering to my like-minded friends who will think it’s funny if I refer to Hillary’s appearance or Bernie’s age or whatever.
I have done a lot worse in the past, the lowest point being my storming up the stairs to my office (before I was in public service) angry after a dispute over a parking space with an Indian guy. I got about a minute and a half into a rant about “these fucking dotheads, who the hell invited them over here? They don’t wash, they don’t know how to drive, they stink of curry and onions, they can’t speak the language, they take jobs away from people who were born here, someone needs to call dotbusters on them…” before a horrified colleague yelled “Steven! Listen to what you’re saying!”
If you’re shocked reading this, I don’t blame you. It was pure, unadulterated hate of the vilest kind, spewed mostly because I was angry, 26 years old, and just starting in the world, but it was really what I was thinking at the time, and just kept under wraps when I was under control. I didn’t help it by making up and telling hate-based jokes with the other lawyers in my office, some of whom, dyed-in-the-wool Democrats though they were, were also racist pigs who saw non-whites only as vehicles to get yet another 1/3 fee on a settlement. Interestingly, the top attorney in the office, who shall remain nameless, both defended Bill Clinton against the Lewinsky allegations while still sharing jokes like “swallow the leader,” and later, after I had left, freaked out about the litigation and the decision that ultimately made GWB the 43rd president.
The fact is that neither the right nor the left is immune to being poisoned by closed-mindedness and hatred. At this point it’s gone much farther on the left, to the point where the left can’t see anything different from it’s view of things as not only wrong, but evil and worthy of only hatred and contempt. If something is worthy only of hatred and contempt, it’s a logical next step to simply spew hatred and contempt and think that hatred and contempt are wit and humor, simply because they are directed against the right targets.